Hospital Trust wipes out bed sores

Tissue viability nurses Bridget Pykerman, Dianne Brett and Jo Walker

Tissue viability nurses Bridget Pykerman, Dianne Brett and Jo Walker - Credit: Archant

The East and North Herts NHS Trust has recorded no patients with avoidable hospital-acquired bed sores for the first time ever.

Bed sores – or pressure ulcers as they are now called – frequently occur when people are not mobile and able to move around as normal.

In 2011, the Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, signed up to a national initiative to reduce the number of patients acquiring pressure ulcers in hospital.

As part of the initiative, a small team of specialist nurses work with ward staff to identify the patients most at risk and take steps to prevent them developing pressure ulcers.

In December 2011 there were 25 incidents of avoidable hospital-acquired bed sores across the Trust’s four sites, in December 2012 there were four incidents, and in December 2013 the Trust recorded no incidents.

Dianne Brett, lead tissue viability nurse, said: “The whole team has worked together to virtually wipe out the pressure ulcers that can be avoided. This means patients are getting better quicker and going home faster – which is better for them and means we can, overall, see more patients.

“We’re tremendously proud of this achievement by our nurses, and all those who support them. It’s a real change in how we work and is making a fantastic difference to our patients.”

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Nick Carver, chief executive of the Trust, said: “A generation ago, pressure ulcers – or bed sores as they were known then – were considered a fact of life when patients were unable to get out of bed for a long time.

“Pressure ulcers are painful, and can mean a patient needs to spend much longer in hospital.

“Thanks to new understanding and ways of working, this latest set of figures demonstrates once again how our nurses and the wider team are delivering ever-improving care.”